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DIY: Battery for long shots
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  • Standard NiMh batteries are notorious for their self discharge, hence the eneloops and similar batteries on the market. If you leave them for long enough they can drain so much that you will need to condition them. If you search for NiMh battery care or something you will get a bunch of hits. For a high cap. pack, 2A is fine. Also you need to make sure how your charger is actually charging. There are multiple methods for detecting if a battery is charged. Stuff like temperature, change in voltage etc. Fast chargers usually dump a whole bunch of charge into a battery but they don't charge it to the max. I can't remember the numbers but I think it was like 80% or 90%. Most chargers then switch to a trickle charge mode where they use a smaller current to top up the rest.

    1 month does sound short so maybe you aren't charging properly or your cells are dying. Did the pack ever work well before?

  • I had my 4300mha battery pack for roughly 6 months before it started to loose its charge. I haven't really charged it and re-charged it that much too. Its just the way they are unfortuatly, you could try and dis-charge them and recharge them up 3x-5x max. If it discharges in a short time thats a bad sign. This is why I had to look for another solustion to this problem because I didn't want to spend too much money replaceing them.

    I am going to start looking at these 3rd party brands and see if they are totally crap or about the same since that save me some cash.

  • After days of trying to work out what I needed to make a DiY battery, I've just ordered instead a 'PowerTraveller Mini Gorilla Charger' from ebay. The manufacturers claim it's good for 4000mAh @ 8.4V. It's £100 from them, but there's an ebay outlet selling them for £73

    I think it may actually work out slightly cheaper than buying a battery, charger, connectors, and something to put it all in, and looks like it will be easier to hook up to the DCC8. It's a slightly awkward shape for filming gear, though.

  • The Powergorilla arrived yesterday, and seems to work with the GH2, though I've not tried it out either in the field, or continuously for a number of hours. The 8.4V setting only seems to output 8.2V, but this didn't stop the GH2 powering on. In the process of measuring the voltage, I accidentally created a short circuit. This led to the Powergorilla becoming unresponsive to anything - it wouldn't power up. I thought I'd smoked it, but plugging the charger in seemed to reset it. I guess that this is some kind of short circuit protection.

  • @benfx, I noticed that the power output was the same as the GH2 and thought it would good power supply for the GH2 since you can recharge it by solar. Australia has too much sun and can reach 40 degrees at some points. I mean were in the world do ya get 4.0 leatre cars because they need big air cons not because they can do serious speeds.

    Anyway back to the point- Its very common for the GH2 to draw a lot of charge, I have noticed this when you use a battery packs (This why battery backs are such a good alternative) and it says 8.4 volt and then it draws the power till its 8.2 volt. I am surprised to here that it doesn't power off. Panasonic I thought at one point adjusted the firmware, so it senses the 3rd party battery pack and cuts off. I don't think this is true, but they have changed the way it expresses it self too you lol - i.e. the message that comes on.


  • @benfx i like the design of this battery, but the mah capacity is to low .. if you check the voltage for higher voltage you get less mah ...

  • With one of these DIY RC battery solutions, I take it it's possible to power all the equipment on a rig off a single battery - camera, monitor, and sound?

  • @ChainsawFilms, it is possible and some are doing it from other posts topics. In fact one guy made his own with different outputs for each device. It would be quite difficult to split the voltage, so that it each device gets its own correct voltage. However the RC battery packs are a good alternative to most battery solutions because of their high resistance to discharge.

  • Thank you. Is there a guide anywhere I could read? I don't mind doing a bit of light soldering, that kind of thing.

  • @ChainsawFilms -

    Thats the topic that talks about using a rig setup with custom battery. I don't if its what ya looking for.

  • @chrimsbroome - that you for the link, I'll check it out :)

  • @chainsawfilms - Rc batteries have balancing plugs that you can draw down certain cells of the battery to get different voltage. Lipos are 3.7v a cell though. So you could get 3.7, 7.4, 11.1 or 14.8 off of a lipo battery if you drew down certain cells independently of the main power out. I don't think it is a good idea for large draws though since the balance leads are usually tiny. But I have used them for powering LED strip lights on a quadcopter. I am not sure about NiMh I think they are 1.7v or something a cell. I have only used lipos so I am not sure of the feasibility of tapping a NiMh or if you even can.

  • @tommyp - thank you for the pointers. I've been looking at UBECs as it happens. I've found one which is 12v (for a monitor), and another 9v (for the GH2 and I think Zoom h4n). If I got a 14.4v battery, how should I wire that up? Would it be best to split the power from the battery to both UBECs at the same time, or to go battery to the 12v UBEC, then split that to the monitor and the 9v UBEC?

    Or is neither a viable solution?

    Thanks in advance :)

  • I am the farthest thing from an electrician but I would just tap them both off of the 14.8 line don't stack them. My quad just goes from battery to a power spider. Just a bunch of wires soldered all together at one point. My Ubec's and ESCs are all drawing from that one point which is powered from one line from the battery. The ground is the same way.

    I just ordered a 9v ubec from hobbypartz. Going to run the gh2 off of my RC lipos. Have been wanting to do this for a while but never took the time to buy the UBEC. I have been running my gh2 off of an old sony camcorder brick connected to the battery adapter if I needed long recording times. But that is usually for performances where I can get power. It would be convenient for some jobs coming up that I have batteries so I guess now is the time to figure out a better power solution. I would like to have something more professional like the Dolgin but it is just too much money (and I would like it to lock the battery in place) when I have all but $11 of the materials siting in front of me. I was thinking about buying a vagabond mini and just trying to use that battery but I am not sure what connector that is and it costs a bit more than $11. I would use a vagabond way more than the Dolgin so it would be worthwhile.

  • @ GH1 OWNERS!!!

    Just got my gh1 back from panasonic,,,,

    this battery solution will smoke your gh1 and you will need a new board...

    i guess it only works with gh2!!! lol

  • @flaschus what was your setup?

  • @tommyp - thank you, just the kind of information I was after :) One final question - you mention a ground. From the pics I've seen of the Lipo batterys they only have 2 wires (red and black). Am I missing something? I know next to nothing about electricity, lol. Still, figure I can't blow myself up with 14.4v. Kit on the other hand.....

  • @ flaschus I don't know the voltage spec for teh GH1 but its prob different to the GH2. Funny really if panasoic see this post they are going to try and make camera that wont work with any battery but their own.

    Panasonic should make a better battery then we would have to go though all this.

  • I've picked up a couple of 8.4v nimh 5300mah rc batteries. I guess I just wire one into the DC coupler and I'll be away. Should be nice and easy.

  • The red is the power black is the ground hook them to the same color on your UBEC input and you are good to go. Oh I forgot you will need some sort of connector to fit to the battery plug. Then you would wire that to the input of the ubec.

    I would take a voltage reading with a multimeter to see what voltage the ubec is putting out just to be totally safe.

  • Oh wait you just got the 8.4v nimh? That is really easy then just right to the adapter. I have 14.8 batteries So I am using a 9v UBEC. I am sure the 8.4's will be fine it is just if they drop too low you are going to have issues with the battery cut out right? But they still should work fine.

  • @tommyp

    here is a pic of the setup that killed the gh1... thoughts?

    2336 x 1752 - 2M
  • @tommyp - I grabbed the 8.4v batteries as they were real cheap. I'll see how they go and look into a Lipo with UBEC to power everything at a later date. Thanks :)

    @flaschus That killed your GH1? That looks like how I planned to wire things up myself.

  • @flaschus do not connect anything to GH1/GH2 without a voltage stabilizer ... think of if lipo or whatever battery is fault or get a problem they can release uncontrolled power etc ... The DC coupler have not any protection, just passes the current straight to the camera ... I will be making soon a video tutorial about this ...

    With this system you can connect whatever battery (3.5v to 28 v) and power securely your camera ...

  • @JackBayer I've noticed that when I put the batteries on charge, I need to switch the battery to the on position. This lights up both red and green light on the charger. After a long time, the green light on the charger goes out, and only the red remains - meaning it's charged.